Senate Republicans band together to allow congressional corruption to continue

In an extremely disappointing and baffling move, the Senate last night blocked a vote on a major ethics reform package. After supporting strong ethics and lobby reform amendments this week, Republican senators suddenly voted to join reform opponents to sabotage a strong ethics package that closely resembled a similar bill passed last week by the House. Forty-five Republican Senators voted against reform last night.

“Let there be no mistake here: This was Senate Republicans thumbing their noses at the American people,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “Given that voters less than three months ago made crystal clear in exit polling that corruption in government was a major concern, it is almost incomprehensible that Senate Republicans would turn their backs on ethics reform.”

Sens. Gordon Smith (OR) and Norm Coleman (MN) were the exception among Republicans, voting to proceed with on vote on the ethics package. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pledged last night to try again today to pass the bill.

Common Cause commends Sens. Smith and Coleman for voting to move ahead with the ethics package, which was crafted in response to years of political scandal in Congress. Common Cause calls on Majority Leader Reid to continue his efforts to bring up this strong reform package for a vote. “The public will not tolerate a failure to act on reform this year,” Pingree added.